Growing Up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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If you’ve been following along with me over on Twitter, you know that I’ve been doing the Read the World Summer Book Club over at Simple Homeschool and we have been having a total blast. In preparation for the end of the summer, they’re encouraging all the families who are participating to share about what it’s like to grow up where they are growing up. So, I sat down with Dominic to answer these questions about our family and about Milwaukee, the city we live in. Questions in bold, Dominic in orange (his current favorite color, though as I’m halfway through typing this, he tells me all the colors are his favorite colors), me in purple, and Nick in blue.

Tell us about your family.

Allen is my brother. He is one. What’s something cool about Allen? That he snuggles with me and plays with me. And who are you? Dominic. And how old are you? Four. And what do you like to do? I like to play games! Tell me about dad. What’s cool about dad? That he plays games, that’s what’s cool about him. And now what about me? Who am I? Mommy. And what’s cool about me? That you snuggle with me! 

My family

Photo taken by the amazing Emily Ebeling. If you’re interested in checking out more of her work or hiring her, click on the photo to be taken to her site!

Tell us about where you live and how long you’ve lived there.

We live in Wisconsin and I don’t know how long we lived there. Well mom’s been here all her life and dad’s been here for about six years and you (Dominic) have been here all your life and so has Allen. {He was talking about the US here, I grew up in Wisconsin, but not in Milwaukee.} We currently live in Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin. 

Milwaukee

Photograph taken by Dori (dori@merr.info) – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Dori

What do you think is unique and special about living where you do?

The museum. Milwaukee Republic Museum. (He means Milwaukee Public Museum). It’s in downtown. And the Domes! It’s a building with plants and a waterfall and fish. 

Milwaukee Public Museum Butterflies

The butterfly gardens at the Milwaukee Public Museum

Milwaukee Domes

On a scavenger hunt at the Domes. It has three areas – tropical dome, desert dome, and show dome. Unfortunately, only the show dome is open while it undergoes emergency repairs to keep people safe, so we haven’t been a while. This is a staple of Milwaukee though and we hope they are able to save them!

What languages are spoken there?

We speak English here. Some other languages that are common in our area include Spanish and Hmong. 

What are some traditional foods there?

Corn Chex, vegetables, cheeses, fruits, juices, sugary drinks, milk. That’s all the things we eat. What is your favorite meal? Pie! Pie is not a meal. It’s funny! What is your favorite meal, for real? Mac ‘n cheese! 

Zucchini Bread

We also love zucchini bread and make it fairly often using my family’s recipe.

Tell us about the climate where you live.

What’s the weather like during the summer? It’s hot, cause the sun is up. What’s the weather like during the winter? Cold. It snows. A lot. 

What does school look like for the majority of kids where you live?

Most kids here attend school outside the home, either public or private. In Milwaukee, in particular, there are a lot of special public schools. For example, there are German, French, and Spanish immersion schools, and Montessori schools as well. There are so many more that listing them would take a long time haha 😉 

What does school look like for your family?

We do learning stuff – play games. What are we starting in the fall? Preschool. We homeschool and I try to include a lot of reading, games, and field trips into our learning as well as more book work type things. I would describe our style as eclectic. 

Are there any special festivals or traditions you’d like to tell us about related to where you live?

We have so many amazing festivals here in Milwaukee. The biggest one is Summerfest, which is a huge music festival, but we also have many ethnic festivals as well. Irish Fest, Greek Fest, Indian Summer Fest, Festa Italiana, German Fest, Polish Fest – and there are many more, but these are just the ones that leaped to mind. During the middle of the summer, there is almost always some kind of festival every weekend. 

Summerfest

Dominic painting in the kids’ tent at Summerfest

If you ever had to move away from where you live, what do you think you’d miss most?

My house. I would miss our fridge. Then I’ll miss our ceiling and I’ll miss our door. I’ll miss our handles. Milwaukee has such a great wealth of opportunities in terms of culture. We have a zoo, many wonderful museums, and many festivals. I’d really miss those. And we have a wonderful church community here too that I would really miss if we moved away. 

Do you have a favorite book that takes place in your region/country?

I grew up reading Little House in the Big Woods which took place in Wisconsin. The boys and I also really enjoy reading a lot of Lois Ehlert, who is a local author and has written many, many books. In fact, she even helped design the children’s room at the Central Milwaukee Public Library downtown. 

Milwaukee Central Library Kids' Room

Have you ever visited or lived in Milwaukee? What’s your favorite part about Milwaukee? Or, what’s your favorite part about where you live? 

Enjoy New – Lindsay Park – ETHANProject

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ETHANProject Enjoy New Description

You ever have something that you do all the time that even though you like the thing you can still get stuck in a rut? For us that’s going to the park. We love to go to the park, but we always pretty much go to the same 2 or 3 parks.

But the city of Milwaukee has so many great parks to offer, they’re worth at least checking out right? So for our enjoy something new, we checked out Lindsay Park.

When I arrived there I noticed a very funny thing indeed. The playground equipment at Lindsay Park is almost identical to the equipment at our local park. There are a few very minor changes – including color – but other than that, basically the same. It’s like I tried to do something new and still ended up basically at the same place. However, that playground has sand underneath it, whereas ours has wood chips, and Dominic especially enjoyed the sand and discovering the joy of burying one’s body parts (in this case, his feet).

Lindsay Park also has a wading pool, though I’m not sure when it is open – it wasn’t when we were there – and, to my surprise, a cricket pitch. To my greater surprise, there were actually people there playing cricket when we went. I did not know there was anyone around here that played cricket – I’m certainly not aware of a huge cricket following in the US. They were too far away from where we were to get any good pictures though unfortunately.

The kids did have a blast though! And sometimes the best part of trying something new is learning about yourself that you were willing to try something new. I definitely hope that at some point we can try even more new parks within our city. We really are blessed here in Milwaukee with such a beautiful parks system that it is totally worth taking advantage of.

Allen and Dominic playing at Lindsay Park

ETHANProject Enjoy New

RIP Peter

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Peter was a part of the United Nations group in Milwaukee and while I can’t say I had the pleasure to meet him since the meetings are almost always at a bad time for me, I do know his passion shone through in the group e-mails and I could tell what a kind and caring individual he was. He really wanted to make the world a better place and he shouldn’t have had his life taken so violently like this.

I’ll get back to my regular stuff tomorrow. I just wanted to take a moment to honor his memory.

Two Milwaukee Men Are Charged in Killing Glendale Man

Dear People Who Still Text While Driving

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Dear People Who Still Text While Driving,

Just stop. It’s not worth it. Trust me, it’s not worth it. Have you ever sent a text message so important that it was worth taking your eyes off the road when you’re controlling a vehicle that has so much damage to hate and destruct? Because I know I haven’t sent anything that couldn’t have waited. It’s dangerous and if you fool yourself into thinking that you can do it safely or that you won’t hurt anyone is just wrong. Because you’re just playing a dangerous game where the risks of hurting someone are too great. Not to mention that it is illegal in many places, including here in Wisconsin. I know I posted about this a few weeks back on my Facebook page, but it’s worth posting again on my blog.

Please don’t text and drive. It can wait. I promise you it can wait. What is more important – that text? Or someone else’s life?

Please stop.

A concerned human being

Not convinced? Watch this documentary. One of the accidents it talks about was right here in Milwaukee. These accidents are 100 percent preventable.

Other texting and driving resources:

Distracted Driving – Zero in Wisconsin

Don’t Text & Drive: Let’s Save Some Lives

Stop the Texts: Stop the Wrecks

Don’t Text and Drive (Graphic Video Warning)

Don’t Text and Drive – Public Service Campaign

Texting and Distracted Driving Infographic

Safe Texting Campaign

It Can Wait

Is This the Best Don’t Text and Drive Commercial?

DNT TXT N DRV – RAB (Remember Alex Brown)

Texting and Driving

Please Don’t Text and Drive

5 Ways to Get Drivers to Stop Texting

 

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Spring Water

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Disclosure: This post may contain advertising links.

I was reading this post on raising locally minded kids (which is a subject for another post – we love our Farmers’ Market and go almost every week) which led me to a post about spring water (that has since become broken – 🙁 )

And I got to thinking about spring water and it reminded me of a memory from when I was a kid. I remember going with some of my friends and their parents to get spring water. I remember my excitement at seeing the spring and how cool I thought it was and I remember the clean, crisp taste of the water. I remember filling the big jugs with this special water.

And then I thought to myself, I would love to take Dominic to do this someday. I have fond memories of going and I think he would enjoy it too (I mean, of course he would, this kid loves water. He is like a little fish.)

So that lead me to findaspring.com and through there I discovered that there is still one public well left in Milwaukee. I almost couldn’t believe it – it was better than I was expecting. I was expecting that we would have to go out of the city to find a spring. But nope, we have one – the Pryor Avenue Iron Well.

So now I’ve got a new item for our “bucket list” – I want to take Dominic to get water from the Pryor Avenue Iron Well. As the name suggests, the water is also supposed to be high in iron, which also  excites me because I have in the past had problems with my iron level, so perhaps this water will help.

What about you? Do you have any experience with or memories of spring water/wells? Would you do it?

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On Closing Your Church

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This past weekend at my church we had our final church service. It’s something that makes my heart very heavy and I’m still trying to process through all the emotions that come with it. I cried during the church service on Sunday – just the very gravity of realizing this was the end, that it was the last time we were going to worship in this place, it’s something that hits you hard and fast.

It just feels like the end. It feels very permanent. Somehow God kept us in that building for five years and so, in some part, I thought (naively?) that He would continue to keep us in the building. I couldn’t face the ending of this place. I know it’s just a building, but it has a lot of meaning to me. It’s the place where we got married. My son was baptized there. I’ve had so many memories in that building – murder mysteries, good food, great fellowship, and lots of friends.

Sometimes I am even angry. Why is it that we couldn’t figure out a way to keep the building? Why is it that we have so little support for campus ministry in Milwaukee? Does anyone care? Sometimes I feel that way. But I know God has a plan and that in his infinite wisdom, He will make a new way known for His work to be done here.

And part of the sadness is, where do we go from here? Our church wasn’t perfect, but it was an excellent fit for us. Nowhere brought me greater joy. As someone said during the band’s prayer before worship, it’s been the one place I’ve looked forward to going to every week. When school got me down, I knew I would find joy and laughter and smiles and a refugee there. That was my safe space. And now my safe space is gone and where do I go from there?

So on Sunday we’ll start looking for a new church. No easy task – as I think my husband and I envision things that are a bit different in our church. But God hasn’t failed us yet and I know we’ll find a new place. But I also know it won’t be the same.

Disclosure: This post may contain links which will generate a small amount of income from clicking them. You should feel no pressure to click them, but if you do, I appreciate your support. I’m just trying to pitch in and help my family in whatever small ways I can. 

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